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Full text of "Soldier and sage. Memorials of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin"


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Soldier and Sage. 



MEMORIALS 



George Washington 



Benjamin Franklin. 



Philadelphia: 
McCalla & Stavely. 

J876 





The following letters were copied by me 
from the originals in the British Museum, 
and are now reproduced as Centennial Me- 
morials. They are given exactly as written, 
and are offered as a humble contribution 
to the Literature of the subject. 

B, F. DeCosta. 
Grammercy Park, 

New York, June 17th, 1876, 




CENTENNIAL MEMORIALS. 

The following letters would command 
attention at any time, but they are of 
especial interest in connection with the 
Centennial. For this reason they are 
printed in the present form. 

The letter of Washington is one of those 
many documents that he was obliged to 
frame in connection with propositions for 
negotiations preliminary to peace. This 
letter is brief, but it is marked by the 
writer's usual wisdom, firmness and hu- 
manity. A glance at his correspondence 
covering this period will reveal the fact 
that the peace propositions brought him 
under serious embarrassment, as the sol- 
diers could scarcely be made to compre- 
hend the difference between peace and 
the preliminaries of peace, and were ready 
to throw down their arms and return to 
their homes. It was, therefore, onlv by 
(5) 



6 

the means of his well-known tact that 
order was preserved in the army, and 
moderation maintained amongst the sav- 
ages in the service of Great Britain. 

The letters of Franklin will not change 
our estimate of his character. In 1764 
he was a devoted servant of the Crown, 
and so he would always have remained, 
if the Crown had remained worthy of his 
devotion. These letters were written a 
little while before he sailed on a visit to 
the mother country as the agent of Penn- 
sylvania, near the time when he wrote to 
his daughter, saying, "Go constantly to 
Church, whoever preaches. The act of 
devotion in the Common Prayer Book is 
your principal business there, and, if pro- 
perly attended to, will do more toward 
amending your heart than sermons can 
generally do," This remark indicates 
what must have been Franklin's general 
opinion respecting the works of Voltaire, 
from whose " Trait e sur La Tolerance " 
he quotes, a work that sprang from the 



moving text furnished by what may be re- 
garded as the official murder of Jean Calas. 
If, however, the witty Frenchman could 
have looked into Philadelphia at the time 
he was writing, he would have given a 
different picture of affairs. Those were 
the days of the Paxton Bioters, and the 
days that cost Franklin so much of his 
popularity, and brought such bitter ene- 
mies, as the benevolent Philosopher in- 
terposed himself between the captive In- 
dians and the furious white men, who 
would have made the streets of Philadel- 
phia flow with blood. These letters, 
however, explain themselves, and extend- 
ed comment is not necessary. Franklin 
copied his French indifferently, but under 
the circumstances no corrections will be 
expected. 

B. F. DeCosta. 



WASHINGTON TO THE INDIAN 
COMMANDER. 

[Haldimand MSS. ? British Museum, vol. 21,763 
fol.42.] 

Headquarters Newburgh, 14th April 

1783. 

Sir— 

I have the honor to inform you that on 
the 3rd of April I received from Sir Guy 
Careleton the enclosed extract of a Letter 
from General Haldimand, — No. 1. — On 
the 8th a proclamation from the King of 
Great Brittain was sent me by Sir Guy — 
No. 2 — And on the 10th a Letter of 
which No. 3 is a copy, was received re- 
questing Passports for two Gentlemen 
bearing Despatches from the British Com- 
mander in Chief to General Haldimand, 
announcing the ratification of the prelim- 
inary Articles of a general Peace, & a 
cessation of Hostilities. — A Passport was 
immediately granted — and the gentlemen 
are on their way to Canada. 

The distance to General Haldimand be- 



ing great, & his situation so wide from 
your Part that great Time must elapse be- 
fore you can receive his despatches ; — I 
have taken the Liberty to make this com- 
munication to you by the directest route 
in my power — in confident hope, that, al- 
tho you may not deem the Information 
official, yet that your Benevolence will 
cause it to be regarded with such atten- 
tion, that, if it does not produce a cessa- 
tion of Hostilities within your command — 
yet, it may at least prevent unnecessary 
& wanton Acts of Cruelty, which may 
have been meditated by the Indians on 
the Frontiers ; — and which in their Con- 
sequences, may prove as disagreeable to 
them as distressing to the Inhabitants of 
the United States. 

I have the honor to be 

Sir 
Your most Obed. Servant 

G: Washington. 



10 



FRANKLIN TO BOUQUET. 

L, British Museum, vol. 21 
fol. 201.*] 

Philad Augt. 16, 1764. 



[Haldimand MSS., British Museum, vol. 21,650, 
fol. 20i:] 



Dear Sir 

Returning just now from the Board of 
Commissioners, I found your agreeable 
Favour of the 10th Instant. — We had a 
Meeting on Tuesday, when your Letter to 
the Governor was laid before us, his Honor 
not present, and the board thin. — I think 
none but myself spoke then for the mea- 
sure recommended ; so, to prevent its be- 
ing harshly refused, I moved to refer it to 
this Day, when we might have a fuller 
Board. The Principal Objection was, 
that the Act did not empower us to go 
further. — To day we got over that Objec- 
tion and all others, and came to a Resso- 
lution which will be communicated to 
you, by the Governor I suppose, and the 
Money sent by Capt Young. We have 
fully, as we understand it, comply'd with 
your Requisition. — And 'tis a pleasure to 
me to have done anything you wish'd me 
to do in the Affair, before the Receipt of 
your letter. 

I recollect that I once in Conversation 
promised you some Papers I had by me, 



11 

containing Hints for conducting an In- 
dian War. I have since found them, and 
on looking them over, am of Opinion you 
will meet with nothing new in them that 
is of any importance ; however, to keep 
my Promise, I now send them inclos'd. 

The June Packet is arrived from Eng- 
land, as is also our Friend, Mr. Allen ; 
but we have no JS~ews by them that is 
material. — France and England are both 
diligently repairing their Marine ; but I 
suppose 'tis a matter of course, and not 
with any Intention of any new Kupture. 
The Ministerial Party is said to be con- 
tinually gaining Strength, and the Oppo- 
sition diminishing. Abroad the Poles are 
cutting one anothers throats a little, about 
their Election. — But 'tis their Constitu- 
tion, and I suppose reckoned among their 
Privileges to sacrifice a few Thousand of 
the subjects every Interregnum, either 
to the Manes of the deceas'd King or in 
honour of his successor. And if they are 
fond of this Privilege, I don't know that 
their Neighbors have any right to disturb 
them in the enjoyment of it : — And yet 
the Russians have entered their Country 
with an Army, to preserve Peace ! and 
secure the Freedom of the Election ! ■ 

It comes into my Mind that you may 



12 

easily do me a kindness ; and I ought 
not, by omitting to acquaint you with the 
occasion, deprive you of the Pleasure you 
take in serving your Friends. By this 
ship I hear that my Enemies (for God has 
bless'd me with two or three, to keep 
me in order) are now representing me at 
home, as an Opposer & Obstructor of his 
Majesty's Service here. If I know any- 
thing of my own Heart, or can remember 
anything of my own actions, I think that 
they might as justly accuse me of being 
a Blackamore. — You cannot but have 
heard of the Zeal and Industry with 
which I promoted the Service in the time 
of General Braddock, and the Douceur I 
procured for the Officers that serv'd under 
him. I spent a Summer in that Service 
without a Shilling Advantage to myself 
in the shape of Profit, Commission, or 
any other way whatsoever. I projected 
a Method of supplying Gen. Shirley with 
£10,000 worth of Provisions, to be given 
at his request by this Province, and car- 
ried the same thro' the House so as to 
render it effectual ; together with a gift 
of some hundreds of warm wastecoats, 
Stockings, Mittens &c. for the Troops in 
their first winter Service at Albany. And 
at Lord Loudon's Request I so manag'd 



13 

between the Governor & Assembly as to 
procure the Passage of the £60,000 Act 
then greatly wanted, and which met with 
great" Difficulty. — On your Arrival here, 
3^ou know the Kindness with which I en- 
deavored to serve the Officers in the Affair 
of their Quarters. And you have been a 
Witness of my Behaviour as a Commis- 
sioner, in the Execution of the present 
Act, and of my Forwardness to carry at 
the Board every Measure you propos'd to 
promote the service. — What I would re- 
quest is, that you would take Occasion in 
Some Letter to me to express your Senti- 
ments of my Conduct in these Respects, 
so far as has come to your knowledge, or 
fallen under your Observation. My hav- 
ing such a letter to produce on occasion, 
may possibly be of considerable service to 

me. With the most perfect Esteem 

I am 

Dear Sir, 

Your most obedient, 
Humble Servant 
Col. Bouquet. B. Franklin. 

Mrs. Franklin & Sally join 
me in Prayers foryour suc- 
cess and happy Keturn. 
I send you inclos'd our last 
political Pamphlet, to amuse 
you on some rainy day. 



14 



FRANKLIN TO BOUQUET. 

[Haldimand MSS., British Museum, vol. 21,650, 
fol. 536.J 

Philada : Sept. 30, 1764. 
Dear Sir, 

I have been so totally occupied with 
the sitting of the Assembly and other 
urgent Affairs that I could not till now do 
myself the Pleasure of writing to you 
since the Receipt of your obliging Favours 
of Aug. 10 & 22, and a subsequent one 
relating to Broadstreet's Peace, of which I 
think as you do. 

I thank you cordially for so readily com- 
plying with my Request. Your letter 
was quite full & sufficient and leaves me 
nothing to desire by way of Addition, 
except that if any letters of yours re- 
lating to the present Expedition is like to 
be seen by the Secretary of State, you 
would take occasion just to mention me 
as one ready on that & every other Occa- 
sion to promote the Service of the Crown. 
The Malice and Industry of my Adversa- 
ries, have, I find, made these Precau- 
tions a little necessary. 



15 

Your sentiments of our Constitution 
are solid & just. — I am not sure that the 
Change now attempted will immediately 
take place, nor am I very anxious about 
it. But sooner or later it will be effected. 
And till it is effected, we shall have little 
internal Quiet in the Administration of 
our Publick affairs. 

I have lately receiv'd a Number of 
new Pamphlets from England & France, 
among which is a Peice of Voltaire's on 
the Subject of Religious Toleration. I 
will give a Passage of it, which being 
read here at a Time when we are torn to 
Peices by Paction religious and civil, 
shows us that while we sit for our Picture 
to that Able Painter, 'tis no small Advan- 
tage to us that he views us at a favourable 
distance. 

u Mais que dirons-nous, dit il, de ces 
pacinques Primitifs que l'on a nommes 
Quakers par derision, & qui avec des 
usages peut-etre ridicules, ont ete si ver- 
teux, & ont enseigne inutilement la paix 
aux restes des les hommes. lis sont en 
Pensilvanie au nombre de cent mille ; la 
Discorde. la controversse sont ignores 
dans Cheureuse patrie qui ils se sont faite : 
& le nom seul de leur ville de Philadelphie, 



16 

qui leur rapelle a tout moment que les 
hommes sont freres, est P example & la 
honte des peuples qui ne connaissent pas 
encore la tolerance." (*) 

The occasion of his Writing this Traits 
sur la Tolerance was what he calls Le 
Mourtre cle Jean Calas dans Toulouse avec 
le glaive de la justice, le 9me Mars 1762 ! 
There is in it abundance of good Sense 
& sound Reasoning, mix'd with some of 
those Pleasantries that mark the Author 
as strongly as if he had affixed his name. 
Take one of them as a sample: 4t J'ai 
aprens que le Parlement de Toulouse & 
quelqus autres tribunaux, ont une juris- 
prudence singulaire ; ils admettent des 
quarts, des tiers siximes de preuve. 
Ainsi, avec six ouindire d'un cote, trois 
de Pautre & quatre quarti de presomtion 
ils forment trois preuves completes ; & sur 
cette belle demonstration ils vous rouent 
unbonne sans misrecorde. Une legere 
connoissance de Part de raisonner suffrait 
pour leur faire prendre une autre meth- 
ode, ce qu'on apelle une demi preuve ne 
peut etre qu'on soupson : ul n'y a point a 
'la riguer' de demi preuve ou une chose 
est prouvee, ou elle ne Pest pas ; il n'y 
a point de milien. Cent mille soupson 



reunis ne peuvent pas plus etablier une 
preuve, que cent mille zeros ne peuvent 
composer un nombre. Ilya des quarts 
de ton dan la musique, encore ne les peut 
on executes ; mais il n'y a n'y quort de 
verite. ni quart de raisonuemeut."( 2 ) 

I send you one of the Pamphlet, Judge- 
ment rendute dans V affairs de Oanady sup- 
posing it may be the more agreeable to 
you to see it, as during your war with that 
Colony you must have been made ac- 
quainted with some of the Character con- 
cerned. 
With the truest esteem and affection I am 

Dear Sir. 

Your most obedient 
hum Die servant 

B. Franklin. 



(1) " What do we hear of the Primitives, in deris- 
ion called Quakers, and who with customs perhaps 
ridiculous, have been so virtuous have so unsuc- 
cessfully taught peace to the rest of men? They 
exist in Pennsylvania to the number of a hundred 
thousand; discord and controversy are ignored in the 
happy country that they form ; and the name of their 
city of Philadelphia alone, which, reminds us that 
all men are brothers, is the example and the shame 
of those peopU who have not > et learned tolera- 
tion." From the edition of Voltaire's Complete 
Works, Paris 1827. Vol. 38. p. 141. 

(2) I apprehend that the Parliament of Toulouse 
and some other tribunals, have a jurisprudence that 



18 

is peculiar They admit of fourths, of thirds and 
sixths of proof. Thus, with six hearsays on the one 
side and three on the other, and four fourths of pre- 
sumption,they form three complete proofs. And upon 
this beautiful demonstration they put a man on the 
rack without mercy. A slight knowledge of the art 
of reasoning would enable them to take another 
method, that which one calls a half proof which is 
only a suspicion. It has not the rigor 01 a half proof 
where a thing is proved or it is not ; it has no medi- 
um. A hundred thousand suspicions together are 
not able to establish a proof, than a hundred thou- 
sand zeros would be able to form a number. There 
are fourths in music, though one is not able to exe- 
cute them, but there are no fourths of truths and no 
fourths of reason." 









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